Back in the summer, we wrote a post about how it’s a “Candidate’s Market” in Supply Chain and Procurement, meaning that people looking for jobs in the field have more leverage than people looking to hire. We talked about how companies – even A-players with universally-recognized products and services – are finding it tough to find people with the right combination of analytical ability, communications skills, and polish they need to meet the increasing demands those companies place on them. All of this is still true. Companies are hiring for these roles at a rapid clip, with a particular uptick in hiring for Procurement, Vendor Management, and Outsourcing in particular.
We chalk that up to the increasing demand, and decreasing supply of professionals in the field – what many in the field call the “Supply Chain talent deficit.” But stepping back a little, the economy is undeniably in pretty decent shape. It posted 229,000 new jobs in 2016, with strong second-half job growth offsetting the weakness in the first half of the year out west – caused by crashing commodity prices.
And we’re seeing it here at Argentus. Companies are eager to hire. (Caveat: we know not everyone is able to find a job in this market)
But there’s one thing we wanted to touch on that doesn’t get a lot of attention:
Companies assume they have leverage in the hiring process, and in a hot job market like this, this assumption causes them to lose out.
What do we mean by this? Think about your typical hire: The candidate’s excited about the role. They revise their resume. Speak to a recruiter. Put together their key accomplishments. Go through multiple interviews. Go through references and back-checks. Get an offer. All seems well. The company’s ready to hire. But then all screeches to a halt, and the candidate is gone to another opportunity. The company didn’t bargain for the fact that the candidate has been doing overtime, going through that entire hiring process with multiple different companies, and the hiring manager is back to square one.
In 2017 so far, we’ve had at least three candidates receive job offers and turn them down for other opportunities. The company goes through a lengthy hiring, screening, backcheck, reference, and offer process costing thousands of dollars – even if those costs don’t seem obvious – only to lose out because the candidate has other offers on the table.
It’s easy to chalk this up to bad luck. This kind of thing happens. But because it costs thousands of dollars to follow a hire all the way through to offer stage only to lose them to another opportunity, it’s worth thinking about why it happens so often, and how to prevent it. In our experience, it comes down to one simple thing:
Too often, companies fall into the trap of thinking that they’re the sole decision maker in the hiring process. It’s based in an old-school mindset, as well as experiences of companies who have hired during economic downturns, where tons of candidates are clamoring for few positions. It’s the kind of thinking that assumes a candidate will still be there, happily waiting, when you get around to making them an offer. Those assumptions don’t always hold true today, when candidates are more mobile and flexible in their careers, and the job market is piping hot.
Hiring managers often see hundreds of applicants when they post a role. More when they work with recruiters. With so many applicants, the company must have the leverage, right? Any candidate would be thrilled to be chosen from such a wide and varied pool. But the thing is, the right candidate doesn’t see how many applicants you had to reject. The right candidate doesn’t even necessarily care. The right candidate knows they’re good for the job. They know they’re in high demand from your competitors, and actually have more leverage than you might think. Because they’re taking other interviews.
So if you want to hire the best, it’s worth catering your hiring process to that right candidate. And that means pushing the timelines as much as you can – and it isn’t easy, we know – to ensure you’re one step ahead of the competitors looking to hire her.
Obviously the whole point of the hiring process is to find that right candidate, and it can take a lot of time because you want to be sure that they’re the right candidate. But that’s not the only reason. Timelines drag. Decisions wait until next week, and the week after. A decision-maker is on vacation. All of a sudden a hire is no longer a big priority, and when you finally get that offer out, the candidate’s gone. Our point is that it’s worth advocating for speed in hiring, whenever you can, because the right candidate?
They’re not going to wait.